Fraud Charge on My Debit Card

This past Tuesday I went to my credit union website to balance my checking account. I noticed a charge from some outfit called amershop.net. I did not remember buying anything from this site and I checked my emails to see if someone I had been doing business with switched to them as their transaction handler. I couldn’t find anything with that website or in that amount. So I ran their phone number through the startpage.com search engine and found them mentioned on ripoffreport.com where they’d run someone else’s debit card for a small amount. So I went to the credit union and filed a fraud claim.

Part of the fraud claim process is that the customer needs to make an effort to contact the party and get the charge reversed. I called the number from the credit union and left a message giving my name and the amount of the transaction and I told them that I had never done business with them and wanted them to contact me about reversing it. Then I had the credit union cancel my debit card and issue me a new one.

I’ve spent the past few days going over my monthly transactions and identifying sites that charge my debit card on a regular basis so that I can switch them to a credit card I have and I’m not going to use my debit card online anymore.

This morning when I went to balance my account I noticed that the charge had been reversed. I appreciate that however I am not going to remove the fraud claim because my question is why did they have my card number, expiration date, etc. in the first place?

People used to balance checkbooks when they got their monthly statement in the mail with their canceled checks. There may be people who still do that. And small transactions of $5 or less might go un-noticed. I balance my account daily. Stuff like that sets off red flags.

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One step out of the pit is a mile in the right direction

Priceless
I worked three weeks of nearly 20hrs of overtime. Yesterday I paid off the smallest of my debts. It was a store credit card with a limit of $250. I started to pay part of it and since I had enough cash on hand, I paid the balance and closed the account.

According to the pernicious counsel out there I should not have closed the account but just let it sit with a zero balance. I guess it has something to do with how my FICO score looks to potential lenders or something. The thing is, I know me. And I know that if I have an account open, I’ll use it. But also, being debt free to me means not having any relationship with the debt machine.

One thing I noticed about store credit accounts is that you end up paying a lot more for the merchandise. A $5 pack of razor blades and a $5 pack of razor blades financed are two different things. You get the blades and pay $5 plus tax and if it’s cash, you’re done. If you charge it, max out your card and pay the minimum, a portion of that $5 gets paid off every month and you are handing the store interest on top of it. Maybe it’s a few pennies but they ad up. I’d rather pay cash.

A toaster by any other name

A credit union I used to do business with had banks like this available to people for opening new accounts. Banks do this to stir up new business…offering the cliche toaster. The problem is it causes current customers to open unnecessary accounts or accounts and open others just to get the thing. This just creates a lot of paperwork and generally doesn’t help the customer. It would have been better to the item to offer current customers for starting or increasing a monthly deposit into their savings. But that wasn’t the deal. So I left my accounts as they were and picked up this guy for $10 at The Container Store. Usually there are better versions of the items the bank is offering in the store. If you need one of whatever it is, you’re better off skipping the off brand gizmo and picking one up at Target. It won’t have the bank’s name imprinted but who cares?

Price Jump

The stations I normally buy from have both jumped 6 cents in the last 24 hours. I am considering a station called “Major Brands.” They’re showing $3.24/gal for regular. I’ve been looking at a website called austingasprices.com. It appears to be updated by the consumers several times a day.

Gas mileage is improving

My current mpg is 18.0. The average over the past six fill-ups and since 2 March is 17.2. I am using the MPG app for iPhone/iPod by catamount.com My goal, at this point, is a city driving mpg of 24.

Most of my driving is “freeway.” I guess it’s like highway miles in a city. Once I get on the MoPac expressway I don’t stop until I take the exit into downtown to go to work. I only use the surface streets when there is some problem with MoPac.